February 4, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Peyton poses on the red carpet at the Super Bowl XLVI-Inaugural NFL Honors Red Carpet and Awards Show at the Old National Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

How Bounty Gate Affects the Buccaneers

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You wouldn’t be a real Buccaneers fan if you woke up this morning, got your coffee and proceeded breath a massive sigh of relief upon the news the Sean Peyton has been suspended for the entire 2012 season. Whether you agree with the suspension is beyond the point, the Buccaneers caught what could end up being a huge break for the next season.

But it’s yet to be known how massive a ripple effect this will have. Never before has an NFL head coach been suspended this way, and never has it happened a coach like Sean Payton and a team like the Saints.

This could end up being like what we saw happen when another Peyton missed the entire season. At least if you’re a Bucs, Falcons or Panthers fan you’re seriously hoping so.

With Sean Payton suspended without pay for the 2012 season, the Buccaneers have a massive opportunity laid out before them. Yesterday, they were a team rebuilding that wanted to make a serious run in the NFC South for a playoff spot. Today they are the third best team in the division.

That might be bold to call the Saints the worse team in the division, but how well does even the mot well oiled business work without it’s manager?

And the question after how well the Saints do this season is followed by how long term will the effects of this be felt? As pointed out by Patrik Nohe earlier today, if Mickey Loomis can’t negotiate with Drew Brees, who’s contract is expiring, then what happens with Brees?

The Rams are also collateral damage in all this as they now lose their defensive coordinator. But as deeply rooted and well known around the NFL the knowledge of Bounty Gate most likely was, the Rams knew what they were getting into when the hired Gregg Williams, regardless of how much they want to the the ‘but we didn’t know’ card.

And a lot of this has to have been amplified by the media coverage of the whole thing. The major news networks had a field day with this story, dubbing it bounty gate therefore taking the meaning of the whole thing to one of the most embarrassing times in American history. If Nixon was impeached for doing the equivalent of what the Saints did (hitting below the belt to get ahead), then what did you expect to happen here, especially given the hard stance Roger Goodell has taken on player safety.

If this happened during the Tagliabue era the penalty is most likely sliced in half for all parties and plater fines are also doled out.

But that’s a whole different story.

What most people in Tampa are concerned with is how this effects the Bucs and the answer is it could dramatically effect them. With the surge of talent the Bucs just encountered, facing a team like the Saints isn’t as scary as it was with their head coach still attached. You saw what happened when Sean Payton was taken out of the game in Tampa last year with a broken leg. And that was with the scrappy, ‘youngry’ Raheem Morris led team.

Could the Saints absolutely fall off the face of the earth next year like the Colts did without their Peyton? It’s possible. But if there is one thing Manning missing last year did it was throw out the safety net that talent means something. That Colts team was unchanged except for Manning’s absence and they barely won two games.

The Saints are a talented team but the Colts were awful without their quarterback, the Saints are missing their head coach.

If there is one thing all of this does, it will be to make Drew Brees an even richer man. The pressure is squarely on him and we will now see how good of a leader he truly is this year in rallying his team and giving them direction. To be honest, there aren’t many people in the NFL I’d feel comfortable with leading the team in this situation then Brees.

But that still doesn’t make anyone empathize with the Saints nor does it make Bucs fans want to feel bad for them.

If this had happened to any other team in the NFL other then the Saints, I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss this and half heartedly support it. Anything that can get the Bucs a leg up from last year should be taken. This is a competitive sport and if the competitiveness is slowly being bled out of the game, then it needs to be manufactured out of this in other areas.

Oops, perhaps I shouldn’t use the word bleeding in this article. It may be too violent for Roger Goodell’s taste. When he asks for it to change, we’ll just change all the harsh, violent adjectives there are to describe the sport he commissions to cotton candy and change the name for he NFL to Tennis.

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